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It’s hard to part with your aluminum and chemical-ridden antiperspirants. You sweat a lot. And it stinks, a lot! It’s only natural to be skeptical towards any product that masks moisture and odor so efficiently. But then again…that’s a lot of unnatural product to be rubbing into your skin on the regular. Maybe, just maybe, there’s some merit behind the best natural deodorants and their ability to do the same service without any potential adverse effects?
After all, a lot of people are devout converts to natural, and for good reason: Ingredients ranging from arrowroot powder to kaolin clay can absorb moisture, while baking soda and tea tree oil and magnesium—or even probiotics themselves—can help fight off odorous bacteria and prevent their proliferation with any moisture. If anything, it’s worth giving natural deodorants a shot. Only then can you be a critic against them...or a tried-and-true convert yourself.
The switch to natural deodorants comes with one very important warning—or rather, a preface: “It may take a few weeks to adjust to the switch of natural deodorants,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Carly Roman of Modern Dermatology in Seattle. “If concerned about body odor, you could also use an antibacterial soap in the shower as you are transitioning products, and then slowly decrease the frequency of that soap if you feel it is no longer needed.” She especially advises this for guys who rely on antiperspirant deodorant to block sweat and odor. “This will help reduce the major contributor (bacteria) to body odor allowing the natural deodorant to seem more effective,” she says.
Ahead—we got more of Roman’s intel about choosing the best natural deodorants and factored it into our own personal picks of the best natural deodorants for men.
Best Overall: Schmidt's Deodorant Stick
Schmidt’s takes the top prize for its sheer variety of all-natural options, but it’s their signature Deodorant Stick that keeps us coming back for more. Made with arrowroot powder and baking soda, it absorbs moisture and neutralizes funk, and also soothes and nourishes skin with a blend of coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, and Vitamin E. It’s a strong formula at a reasonable price and one that will likely convert some of the steepest skeptics.
Best Budget: Tom’s of Maine Tea Tree Long Lasting Deodorant
Whether you’re price-minded in principle or are just looking for a low-cost investment into natural deodorants, then beeline for Tom’s of Maine. The brand excels in all things natural, from deodorant to toothpaste, and its tea tree deodorant neutralizes odorous bacteria while also soothing inflammation and calming skin (the latter thanks to aloe). It also utilizes hops extracts and ascorbic acid to fight funk and helps adjust pH levels to a cool, calm, and harmonious place.
Best Drugstore: Arm & Hammer Essentials Solid Deodorant
If your skin can tolerate baking soda (and many people can), then take note: Arm & Hammer has a heavy-duty natural formula with its hero deodorizing ingredient. The formula includes lavender and rosemary oils, known for their soothing properties, and baking soda to sponge up all the moisture. However, heed Dr. Roman’s advice on baking soda before proceeding with any such formula: “Baking soda is an alkaline chemical compound, which can increase the pH of the skin, leading to dryness or irritation.” if you notice this, then swap in an alternative deodorizer.
Best Stain-Free: Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant
Now, it’s not to imply that other deodorants on this roster will leave coconut-oil- and baking-soda-based stains on your clothing, but that can sometimes be the reputation of natural deodorants (as it can be for antiperspirants, too). So if that’s your history with any products or if you’re simply looking for a stain-free formula you can count on, then try Malin + Goetz. Formulated with eucalyptus leaf oil and citronellyl, it neutralizes odorous bacteria without being aggressive on skin or clothing.
Best Baking Soda Alternative: Brothers Artisan Oil Magnesium Stick Deodorant
If you’re averse to baking soda formulas, then consider magnesium and arrowroot powder as your armpit’s new best friends. Magnesium stays on the surface of the skin to kick bacterial booty (without disrupting the sensitive dermis just below the surface), and arrowroot soaks up moisture like a sponge. Brothers Artisan Oil combines them with kaolin clay for added absorption plus shea butter, coconut oil, and an essential oil blend for overall moisturizing, toning, and soothing.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Baxter of California Deodorant
Baxter’s citrus and herbal-musk-tinged stick has a bit of a cult following in the grooming sphere, and for good reason. It’s gentle on skin, smells divine, and doesn’t stain your clothes. Made with tea tree oil and witch hazel, it both helps neutralizes odor and tones skin. So while it may not be the most moisture-minding of the lot, it is with certainty one of the most universally adored for its deodorizing powers.
Best Mission: Hey Humans Naturally Derived Deodorant
Jada Pinkett-Smith’s brand is a welcome addition to the self-care space, for its ethos and promise: 99% plastic-free and recyclable paper packaging; all products under $6; clean, vegan, and natural formulas, and so forth…and here is a formula that combines absorbent arrowroot powder with nourishing shea butter and coconut oil, as well as a host of toning/ soothing essential oils, which also linger pleasantly after application.
Best for Beginners: Ursa Major Hoppin’ Fresh Deodorant
Since your body needs some time to adjust to an all-natural formula, it’s smart to start with a stick that showcases the category’s full potential—that way, you’ll stick with it for the long haul. Ursa Major’s sensitive-friendly deodorant combines hops (yep, the same used in beer) with kaolin clay and aloe vera for an ultra-dry but soothing result. It’s also got peppermint and eucalyptus oils for a minty-fresh tingle—and a naturally cool lingering scent.
Best Extra-Strength: Milk + Honey Extra Strength Deodorant
Naturally, you might be skeptical of a chemical-free deodorant, especially if you’re on the muskier side of things. So it’s worth seeking out an extra-strength formula if you are otherwise reliant on antiperspirants and high-powered non-naturals. Milk + Honey’s deodorant combines baking soda with arrowroot powder for an extremely absorbent result. It also neutralizes the area with tea tree oil while calming with lavender and hydrating with coconut oil.
Best Spray: L:A Bruket 089 Deo Spray
It’s hard to find a natural deodorant spray that doesn’t dry out your skin. That’s because most of the “natural” ones still rely on some kind of alcohol base to tackle bacteria. You want one that instead utilizes all kinds of essential oils, like L:A Bruket. It combines jojoba, apricot, rapeseed, sunflower, bergamot, rosemary, mandarin, and more. The blend neutralizes, soothes, tones nourishes… basically, it does all of the good stuff.
Best Scent: Each & Every Worry-Free Natural Deodorant
Each & Every offers seven terrific scented options of its coconut-oil-based deodorant (rather, it’s six scents and one unscented). Our favorite is the Citrus & Vetiver closely followed by Lavender & Lemon (yeah, so maybe we like crisp notes mixed with herbs and grass). They utilize sustainable, recyclable/plant-based packaging, and rely on Dead Sea salt as the bacteria-neutralizing agent.
Best Prebiotic/Probiotic: Native Men’s Deodorant
Some people want to fight bacteria with bacteria, by applying a probiotic-packed ingredient or a prebiotic one (the latter is food for bacteria, as opposed to probiotics which are the good bacteria themselves). Native’s natural blends are adored by consumers for many reasons—and doctors, too, as they are one of Dr. Roman’s favorite natural deodorant brands. Their inclusion of probiotics—to kill off the bad bacteria—is chief among the reasons people love them. Native’s baking soda- and tapioca starch-powered formulas soak up moisture, and they offer a variety of scents to appeal to every shopper.
There are so many options within natural deodorants, which combine bacterial-neutralizing ingredients with moisture-absorbing ones (though sometimes just the former). From a prebiotic option like Native's Men's Deodorant (view at Amazon) to the high-powered baking-soda and arrowroot-powder fueled stick that is Milk + Honey’s Extra Strength Deodorant (view at Ulta), or our go-to pick, Schmidt’s Deodorant Stick (view at Amazon). After perusing this list and seeing ingredients like tea tree oil, magnesium, hops, and eucalyptus, it begs the question: Why did you wait so long to switch to naturals? But just remember: There is a grace period after you switch wherein your body gets used to the lack of chemicals as it trains itself to respond instead to these natural formulas. So be patient, and if needed, follow Dr. Roman’s advice by incorporating antibacterial body washes or soaps into your shower regimen in the meantime for an added neutralizing step.
What to Look for in a Natural Deodorant
“There is no regulation of the word natural,” Dr. Roman says. “So it can be misleading or used freely. Even if a product is ‘natural’, it can still lead to irritation or rashes. A great product is one with minimal and thoughtful components—more is not always better.”
A Proper Tandem
Most people want a natural deodorant that both neutralizes odorous bacteria and absorbs moisture—so, more of a replacement for antiperspirant deodorants if anything. Look for a combination of ingredients that do both. For instance, a combo of neutralizing magnesium with absorbent arrowroot powder (as seen in Brothers Artisan Oil’s deodorant).
Deliberately Sensitive or Deliberately Not
Some people prefer natural deodorants because they use ingredients intended to maintain harmony in an otherwise sensitive area. Other people want the strongest natural ingredient possible (like baking soda) simply because they prefer a natural recipe but still demand moisture absorption. You have to be deliberate about the route you take and understand why you yourself are choosing to switch to naturals.
Why Trust Byrdie?
Byrdie contributor Adam Hurly has been covering grooming for nearly 8 years. He began working for Birchbox in 2013, then became a freelance writer/editor in 2016. Since then, he has written for GQ, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, Esquire, Gear Patrol, Bloomberg, Men’s Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, Forbes...and of course, Byrdie.
According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough natural deodorants for men from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business to meet this percentage. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will evaluate the product ASAP.